In their first show in London for three years, tickets were sold out for Arcade Fire’s return at Earls Court on both the 6th and 7th June. The two dates serve as a build up to the climax of the ‘Reflektor’ tour at Hyde Park’s British Summer Time on 3rd July- which is also set to be their last London performance of 2014. Friday 6th June saw the band joined by a DJ set from Pulp’s Steve Mackey, and an amazing performance from Owen Pallett who later joined the band on stage for the main event of the evening. They were even joined at one point by Echo and the Bunnymen’s frontman Ian McCulloch for a cover of ‘The Cutter‘ that was originally released in 1983. Those attending the gig on Saturday will be treated to live performances from both Lorde and 2 Many Djs.
The request made by Arcade Fire on their Twitter on Friday, asking fans to wear either fancy dress or formal attire, was taken very seriously by some. Earls Court was brimming with glitz and glamour, and all costumes from robots to princesses, to the lion from the Wizard of Oz. Having the dressing-up element present at the gig made the event truly unique and created nothing short of a great atmosphere- that was raised higher once fans stepped inside of the main venue. Earls Court was decked out in disco balls and strings of fairy lights, and even included someone dressed entirely in a suit made from reflective material appearing on the second stage at certain points of the night. Arcade Fire truly went all-out with the ‘Reflektor’ theme!
As a seven piece band, I can imagine that the stage presence of Arcade Fire is always huge, but Friday and Saturday saw the band as a staggering eleven-strong band. Not only were they joined on stage by Owen Pallett, who had supported them earlier in the night, but previous core member Sarah Neufield and two additional percussionists. Despite the vast number on stage, it was frontwoman (wife of frontman Win Butler) Régine Chassagne that stole the show with a stunning performance. During Afterlife, Régine made her way to the second stage in the venue, that was in the centre of the crowd. Surrounded by dancers dressed as skeletons, the whole crowd turned to watch her and seemed to be totally transfixed by her performance- making her the stand-out member of the night.
Arcade Fire’s two hour set was kickstarted by the title track of their fourth album, ‘Reflektor,’ which was perfect for setting the mood of the evening. All of the band’s visuals corresponded to the theme of ‘Reflektor,’ with the band surrounded on stage by mirrors and a hall full of disco balls. The highlights of the night included ‘Neighbourhood (Tunnels)‘ and ‘Wake Up’ from the band’s first album, Funeral, the title track of ‘The Suburbs,’ and ‘Joan of Arc.’ A personal favourite for me was ‘No Cars Go‘ from Neon Bible. Having said this, every song was performed with the same precision and the experience was amazing.
The band covered a huge range throughout their set from all four of their albums, which can’t have been anything but a treat for the whole crowd. We have definitely been left wanting more, so it’s probably a good thing that tickets are still on sale for their performance at Hyde Park where they will be joined by Jake Bugg, Wild Beasts, Band of Skulls and Future Islands.